This spacious Surry Hills cafe has a piano ready to play in one corner as well as a dedication to letting people know about their coffee. Customers can tailor make their coffee to their own tastes (aroma, sweetness, body, acidity, aftertaste) or order tea mocktails using cold brewed teas. And their most popular item, a pork belly kimcheese burger comes with a free coffee!
"I know heaps of people are into coffee but I wish there was a place that specialised in tea instead of coffee for us tea drinkers," I say to Joan Holloway, a fellow tea enthusiast. We are looking at the menu at Haven on Chalmers Street in Surry Hills and there is much about their coffee and coffee machine.
"Oh hang on. Oops my bad," I say as I flick to the next page of the menu where there are a selection of teas including a couple of tea mocktails. Haven not only does plenty of coffee but tea as well. The name Haven is actually short for the full name: Haven Tailoring Coffee Joyously.
It is named Haven because the three owners met in Hong Kong on Haven street. Even so, it is a haven from the cold, heavy rain that falls outside and staff are very welcoming and friendly. The spacious cafe is located on Chalmers Street just across the road from an entrance to Central Station.
We need to warm up so some drinks are ordered. The chai comes out in a small teapot, the blend strong and heady and in need of sweetening and milk.
There are two iced tea mocktails and I choose the first called "Perfume". This is made with a cold brewed jasmine tea base flavoured with rose and lime with a touch of honey. It would be perfect on a hot summer's day. The cappuccino is good although I have my coffee with sugar and milk which I think coffee connoisseurs may scoff at. The coffee comes with a small bowl of currants. Eating the currants after a sip of coffee is said to bring out the flavour of the coffee. These guys seem to be big coffee nerds.
There are facts posted about the place about the coffee machine (VA388 Black Eagle), the size of cup (8oz) and why you should add white sugar to your coffee. You can also tailor your coffee to your own preference (eg. sweeter, less acidic etc) in a star shaped diagram. I almost expect Sheldon Cooper to come out and direct an episode of Fun with
There's a chalkboard recommending the pork belly kimcheese burger and offers a complimentary coffee with any order of this. It's marked "must try" so we feel compelled to order it. They bring it out in two parts and recommend squeezing the two halves together. It's a fat slice of five spice pork belly with grated apple, kim chi, bocconcini cheese, kale, black sesame omelette, coriander and shaved radish. There is a lot going on in this burger and while I liked the apple to keep it refreshing I would have loved more seasoning on the pork belly. The bocconcini also doesn't add much flavour or gooeyness to the burger and I was looking forward to the cheese being more of a feature with a name like kimcheese.
The cauliflower popcorn is a sizeable serve of crumbed and lemongrass spiced cauliflower florets deep fried and served with a runny centered egg on top, wakame butter and greens.
We decide to split dessert - after all it's Friday lunch (although this hasn't stopped us from ordering dessert any other day of the week). The Masfogato is a 73% Madagascan dark chocolate gluten free brownie with a curl of frozen mascarpone and a side shot of house blend espresso and plenty of walnuts. It's rich and gooey and especially good with the mascarpone. It doesn't even need the coffee but coffee lovers would no doubt appreciate the extra shot.
So tell me Dear Reader, are you a coffee or tea person? Or both? Do you tend to only drink one or the other? And what would you perfect cup of coffee be like?
This meal was independently paid for.
Haven Tailoring Coffee Joyously
30-34 Chalmers St, Surry Hills NSW 2010
Phone:(02) 9281 9300
Open: 7am-4pm Monday to Friday (kitchen closes at 3pm)
6pm-9pm Friday and Saturday
8am-4pm Saturday and Sunday (kitchen closes at 3pm)